AARON Collins will walk out at Wembley today on a mission to show he is ready to play Championship football.

The Welsh striker has been in rude form over the last couple of months, netting nine goals in his last 14 games to help push Wanderers to within one victory of promotion.

Oxford United stand in the way of Collins’ return to the second tier, where he spent three seasons as a player at Wolves without ever managing to make a breakthrough.

But a career reset, which saw him drop back down the leagues with Forest Green and Bristol Rovers, then led to a £750,000 move to Bolton in the winter window. Now, he is looking to prove himself on the biggest stage of them all.

“This is my big chance,” he told The Bolton News. “I want to play as high as I can and prove myself in the Championship. I had a lot of appearances in League One and managed to get promoted out of it with Bristol Rovers.

“Now, over the two seasons, I feel like I have proved I am good enough to play higher than League One.

“I want to prove myself up there and I am hoping it comes with this club because I signed here a few months ago and have absolutely thrived, I am really happy with the way I have performed.

“I want to be thriving again and performing again in the Championship with Bolton next season.”

Collins arrived at the start of February knowing he would most likely play a supporting role to Dion Charles and Victor Adeboyejo, who were at the time in command of the first team striker spots.

But a spate of injuries saw him pushed to the front of the queue, and as he heads to Wembley looking to partner Charles in the Bolton attack, Collins recognises the opportunity he has been given.

“Coming in January, I’d said at the start that I’d help out however I could, and it might not have meant starting every game,” he said. “Then I came into the team, started 15 games out of 21 now, and I didn’t expect it. I knew there was a massive squad, and it is a strong squad.

“There were injuries and problems along the way but I have managed to prove myself, and I feel like since I have been starting games I have shown what I can do.

“I’m massively thankful for this chance. I don’t take playing for a club like Bolton Wanderers for granted. I want to repay the faith everyone has shown in me.”

In what will be the 61st game of a marathon campaign, Wanderers will know by early evening if they are destined for the Championship or facing a fourth consecutive season in League One.

Collins is desperate to feel the same elation he did as a Bristol Rovers player in 2022 when they secured promotion to League One on the final day.

“Everyone says you’ll never forget the promotions you have in your career, and not everyone gets to have them, let alone two, or three,” he said.

“If manage to get a second promotion here then I am going to enjoy every single moment I can because they are the ones you live for as a footballer.

“You come into a team sport and individually you want to thrive, everybody does, but if the team is thriving as well, how can you not enjoy that?

“We all have our holidays booked but I want to go on mine thinking I have the Championship to play in next season, not another year in League One. Hopefully that will be the case come Saturday.”